Thursday, October 09, 2003

Spreading fertilizer

Why is it that all of us in animal agriculture need to have a nutrient management plan in order to spread effluent and newspapers like the New York Times are not required to? Since when can anything that is not profitable be sustainable? I am all about the opportunities to capitalize on the niche markets that exist, but not at the expense of the other ranchers, that also happen to be doing things right and are also helping to supply product to meet the growing demand for BEEF. Read the entire piece or this excerpt but I warn you that this stinks worse than anything you could find on the bottom of your boots after a walk through the barnyard.

Balancing Cattle, Land and Ledgers

THREE FORKS, Mont. HARD by the three small streams that tumble together here to form the headwaters of the Missouri River, George Kahrle tends to a herd of 50 or so bawling raven-black cattle.

They look like cows at any other ranch, but from the time they are born, their lives and the lives of the people who raise them are different. The animals are bred later in the season than at traditional ranches, so calves are born when rich spring grasses are bursting up, and they spend less time in feed lots.

They roam more freely, which proponents say fends off the disease and stress so often found in pens on big ranches, and guards pastures from overuse. They are raised without growth hormones and with few, if any, antibiotics. They will even be raised a few months longer, so when they are sent to slaughter they fetch a higher price.

Mr. Kahrle practices what is called sustainable ranching. By avoiding pesticides and relying more on range grass than feed grown with fertilizers, he says, he is helping to sustain the environment. By avoiding antibiotics and hormones, he is sustaining the quality of his beef. And by reducing his costs and becoming part of a network of distributors, retailers and chefs who care about what they are doing and are willing to pay for it, he is sustaining what is often an economically precarious way of life. "We use more of what nature gives us," Mr. Kahrle said. "It makes sense on every level."

Food Clenzing of no value?

Since we have already established the fact that the New York Times is knee-deep in poo-poo, we might as well look at the rest of the junk they publish as news. The fourth pillar of public health is now available to schools to add an additional layer of protection for the benefit of our nation’s kids. Yet the New York schools have been duped by special interest groups who are more interested in fear and fundraising than in finding solutions to food safety issues. Read on:

Schools Seem in No Hurry to Buy Irradiated Beef

ARE irradiated hamburgers coming to your child's school cafeteria next year?

Last spring the federal Department of Agriculture told schools that starting in January they could buy ground beef that had been irradiated to kill bacteria and prevent contamination outbreaks.

But telephone interviews with officials in 56 school districts around the country found few takers so far. Thirty-four of the officials said they had no plans to serve irradiated beef in their school lunch programs, 4 said they would definitely not use it, 13 said they had not yet decided and 5 would not comment. None said they were going to buy it.

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